Judging a website by its cover

By Robert Brown

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User Experience

We recently updated our website and we wanted to ensure that everything was the best it could be in order to create a positive user experience for all. So where to start? We thought it was important to start at the same place as everyone else.

When a homepage loads and you take in what’s before you, you make some snap decisions there and then. We’d be willing to bet that in those first few seconds you make up your mind on whether the company is established, whether they’re good at what they do, and whether they’re worth sticking around for. Here’s the fundamentals of what we’ve learnt from fellow designers, developers and industry experts alike.

Stand out from the start

First and foremost, whether it’s a logo or a headline, it needs to quite literally JUMP off the page.

Big, bold and telling of your story, it needs to succinctly tell everyone exactly what you can do. So, ours is ‘We create design and digital solutions that build brands’. Why? Because in under ten words, that’s exactly what we do.

If you are struggling with what yours should be, try and look at it this way… what words would you use to describe yourself or your brand? For us, we are creatives that particularly specialise in design and digital with our ultimate goal being to build brands. For that reason, those words were essential to our motto.

'We create design and digital solutions that build brands'

Show them you can

Without overly cluttering your homepage, you must be able to build upon your promise with a little bit of proof.

For some, it's listing their achievements. For example, '99.9% customer satisfaction and winner of the… in 2016'. For us, it's showing them the wonderful people we have worked with and a snippet of what we did.

If you are able to tell people ‘we worked with such and such and created £5million in profit’, they’re going to want to see how you did it. What’s more, they’ll want you to do it for them.

'Northern Design Festival - coverage of more than 200,000'

Reach out and be reachable

Lastly, it is essential that you reach out and make yourself reachable. You can do this in three ways.

1. If they’ve seen your homepage and are impressed with it so far, make sure you don’t lose them with a maze of a menu. It can be hard when you have lots of things you want people to know, but keeping it simple and straight to the point works in your favou. For example, we have seven pages each for very specific things. These are ‘home’, ‘our work’, ‘what we do’, ‘our studio’, ‘blog’, ‘join our team’ and ‘contact us’.

2. Link up. By having the links to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. visible, you are giving people more of a chance to get to know you. If they then go on to ‘like’ you, ‘follow’ you or sign up to your newsletter, you have succeeded in making the all important connection.

3. A lot of people come directly to a website for the sole purpose of getting an instant source of contact, so having a phone number right there for them is a must.

A screenshot of JUMP's links to social channels

It all comes down to the first impression, and getting your homepage right is a sure way to make a good one.

You can be the best in the world at doing what you do, but if you don’t make it known from the start then the chances are that nobody is going to know.

Spread the word...

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